Monthly Archives: September 2008

Don’t fret the technique

My new favourite typo: if you’re fed up with the sound of electric rock n’ roll perhaps you’d prefer some autistic guitar. This gentleman has an autistic guitar for sale, thankfully with an instruction book and tuner for novices. For those of you who are a bit more advanced, this page tells you how to […]

Is the behavioural economics bubble about to burst?

The BPS Research Digest has alerted me to a fantastic debate in this month’s Prospect magazine about whether behavioural economics is the savour of the dismal science or just fad in the boom and bust of economic theories. It’s presented as a sarcastic exchange of letters between Pete Lunn (author of Basic Instincts: Human Nature […]

Playing doctors and nurses with sex

Psychologist Petra Boyton has written a fantastic piece about the increasing medicalisation of our sexual life as behaviours that were considered personal difficulties are now been re-packaged as disease to be treated by the medical establishment. Petra focuses on ‘sex addiction’ and ‘female sexual dysfunction’, two concepts that get frequently discussed in the media despite […]

Lawrence of Arabia is dead, long live the crash helmet

I just found this fascinating article from a 2002 edition of Neurosurgery that tells how a brain surgeon who unsuccesfully operated on Lawrence of Arabia after his fatal motorcyle crash was inspired to research and design crash helmets that now save thousands of lives. T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, was a hero […]

The Gene Genie meddles with relationships

Not Exactly Rocket Science has a great <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/09/of_voles_and_men_exploring_the_genetics_of_commitment.php “>article on the recent finding that the AVPR1A gene is linked to relationship problems in heterosexual men. Unfortunately, it’s been widely reported in the mainstream media as being a ‘gene for relationship problems’ or a ‘gene for marital bliss’ but it’s really not. In this case, […]

Fraudian slip

Today’s BPS Research Digest has a wonderfully ironic and recursive Freudian slip in a post about the misdiagnosis of women with mental illness in Victorian Britain. It highlights how misdiagnosis could get the doctor in hot water, and makes a link with Freud’s later ideas about hysteria – symptoms that appear to be neurological, such […]

Drug-fuelled shooting as a spectator sport

The Atlantic has a provocative article arguing that drug-fuelled shootings would make competitive sport more interesting, although probably not in the way you’re thinking. The piece discusses beta blockers such as propranolol, drugs that have their major effect on the peripheral part of the autonomic nervous system. They don’t actually make the user feel less […]

NeuroPod on altruism, imprinting, eating and magic

The August edition of the Nature Neuroscience podcast, NeuroPod, arrived online after a summer break with some fascinating discussions on everything from altruism to magic. Perhaps the most interesting bit is on genomic imprinting – a curious effect where the same gene may be expressed differently depending on whether you inherited it from your mother […]

Encephalon 53 hails from a big continent

The 53rd edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival comes to us from the beautiful continent of Africa and has all the latest from the last fortnight in mind and brain news. A couple of my favourites include an article from the appropriately named Brain Stimulant on the experience of a person with […]

It’s all gone scare shaped

The Guardian is currently running a series of extracts from Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Science. The first two are witty, acerbic and address how implausible vaccine scare stories get picked up by a scandal hungry media, and how pharmaceutical companies attempt to persuade us that every discomfort is a medical disorder. Actually, I’m still […]

A vision of a daydream, or a fragment of reality

The Boston Globe has an interesting piece on daydreaming, touching on the link between daydreaming and creativity and discussing the possibly brain networks that might support our pleasant mental wanderings. The article discusses some of the recent work on the default brain network and how this might be related to daydreaming: Every time we slip […]

Monty Python’s fluent aphasia

Thripshaw’s Disease was a fictional medical condition shown in a sketch from the classic comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus that bears a remarkably similarity to fluent aphasia, a speech impairment that can occur after brain injury. Mind Hacks reader Patricio sent in this fascinating observation, and we can see from the sketch that the […]

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